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Switzerland tops the overall rankings in The Global Competitiveness Report 2010-2011, released yesterday by the World Economic Forum ahead of its Annual Meeting in Tianjin, China.
The United States falls two places to fourth position, overtaken by Sweden (2nd) and Singapore (3rd), after already ceding the top place to Switzerland last year. In addition to the macroeconomic imbalances that have been building up over time, there has been a weakening of the United States' public and private institutions, as well as lingering concerns about the state of its financial markets.
Germany is up from rank seven in 2009 to five in 2010. The Netherlands are up from rank 10 last year to eight in 2010. The United Kingdom is up from rank 13 last year to 12 this year whilst France is up from rank 16 last year to 15 this year.
Spain's rank is down from 33 in 2009 to 42 in 2010. Italy's position is stable at rank 48. Greece's position is down from rank 71 last year to 81 this year.
Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, said "policy-makers are struggling with ways of managing the present economic challenges while preparing their economies to perform well in a future economic landscape characterised by uncertainty and shifting balances. In such a global economic environment, it is more important than ever for countries to put into place the fundamentals underpinning economic growth and development."
Xavier Sala-i-Martin, Professor of Economics, Columbia University, USA, and co-author of the report, added "amid concerns about the outlook for the global economy, policy-makers must not lose sight of long-term competitiveness fundamentals amid short-term challenges. For economies to remain competitive, they must ensure that they have in place those factors driving the productivity enhancements on which their present and future prosperity is built. A competitiveness-supporting economic environment can help national economies to weather business cycle downturns and ensure that the mechanisms enabling solid economic performance going into the future are in place."